The Hobbit: A report from the midnight screening



Hairy-footed halflings padded through a Misty Mountain fog last night as they found their ways to the top floor of the River Park Square AMC. Greeted by theater employees branded with the white hand of Saruman (a detail which recalls the Lord of the Rings Two Towers film and has, if I recall from reading the book when I was 10, absolutely nothing to do with The Hobbit), fantasy buffs and common movie-goers alike rejoiced. There were no lines, even though my fellowship arrived over an hour early, but some people played cards in the halls just to imitate the big opening feel I suspect.

After foolishly buying a large waterskin of Diet Coke for the night's adventure, I settled into my seat at 10:30 pm.

“What do you think of the new frames per second thing?” asks one of my band. “Are those people knitting?” asks another. (They were.) “I have to pee,” I respond. 10:45 pm.

And so it went until just past midnight, when the theater filled, the skies parted, the eagles (and that overly excitable girl three rows back) screamed and we were off.

Now, Peter Jackson said he didn't want to remake the Lord of the Rings trilogy and didn't want the same feel. Bahrum! 'He didn't want to make a movie!' I thought as it progressed.

But perhaps that's not a terrible thing. Rather than making a single narrative, and concentrating on Bilbo, Jackson strung together a collection of short stories, some involving the same characters, some not. The pacing was quick and the distinctions between scenes were well-defined. That may just be another way of saying this movie has no segues, but after watching the entirety, I'm convinced it wasn't meant to. This had the feel of a storybook, one that takes its time with erroneous but delightful details and seeks to place you in an environment rather than simply pass it before your eyes.

Even though it won't match the LOTR trilogy for grandeur, it entertains in its own fairy tale way, and does have its exciting bits. Trolls, giants, goblins, wargs. There was arrow firing, Goblin-bashing, Gollum eye-widening, Gandalf doing magic for once thrill, and as its distinguishing feature, plenty of comedic interjection.

And overall, I had fun.

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